Wednesday, June 20, 2012

More Police Dealings

Continued from last Sunday

Previously on The Coward…

I am still out on police bond for having taken a picture of the Hon. PM’s Mercedes, a move that was deemed to have threatened his life and that of his wife. And because of that, I have to report to Kiira Road police station every Friday at 10:00am. Secondly, Kabalagala police illegally towed my car out of a friend’s compound and to get it back - well a lot of police hands had to be greased.

Now today on The Coward…

Seeing that I still have police issues, I thought it might be wise to kick off this cowardly tale on a note of congratulations to Affande Charles Kataratambi, who I am told is now the new head of CID in Kampala. With the congratulations out of the way, Charles, you might want to take a drive to Kiira Road and see what is happening there.

In the past two weeks, I am beginning to ‘admire’ the police force and the way in which they operate. They have an approach that is almost nonchalant, has a touch of aloofness and coupled with seemingly being unbothered.

Affande Charles, Room 14, which is the CID office at Kiira Road police station, is not in the best shape. Apart from a large section of soft board that once formed the ceiling being missing, the rest of the ceiling is bound to give way, and I think it is likely to happen before Independence Day.

The furniture too, is antique with the tables and chairs perhaps being leftovers from donations that Her Majesty’s Government in England gave us as Entandikwa when we attained Independence in 1962. And two of the antique tables are taken up with Olivetti typewriters.

But really, who still uses Olivetti typewriters?! I thought we were supposed to be in a supercharged technological age of the internet, where the iPad, BlackBerry, Samsung Galaxy Tabs and laptops rule the world?

Well it does seem that the supercharged technological age of the internet, where the iPad, BlackBerry, Samsung Galaxy Tabs and laptops rule the world has not yet trickled down to the Uganda police force. And I also thought that the world was in unison when we stopped using foolscap paper in 2001 and we all embraced A4 paper? Well, it does appear that somebody forgot to tell the police for they still use foolscap to take down statements. Hmm!

So CID Police Officer who, tended to my needs, was in his own element. Short of desperately wanting to take a siesta, he was laid back in the remnants of a swivel chair and gave me the once over – well not just one once over but four of them.

When I gave him the police bond to sign, he looked at it in my outstretched hand, the lent back in his seat, looked out of the window before casting his eyes that already looked suspicious back at the police bond and with a look that had nothing but scorn and contempt.

There is not much to read on a police bond. At most it takes a minute but CID Police Officer, put it on his desk and again concentrated on looking out of the window and at the passing traffic. When and I presumed he had seen enough cars roll by his eyes, he glanced at the police bond.

Then slowly he picked it up and looked and looked at it almost like he was trying to determine if it was an authentic police issue bond. This exercise took him the best part of five minutes. Satisfied, he started reading it.

He read it once, turned it over even though there was nothing to read on the flipside, then, put his hand to his chin, read it again and again and again. While he did this, he was still giving me the once over.

But there was something bothering him - the passing traffic outside his window. So he swivelled round in his chair, and once again, concentrated on watching the traffic.

To keep myself busy, I too joined him in watching the passing traffic. I saw a black Range Rover Sport, numerous taxis, a good number of Toyota Harriers, and a range of Toyota cars and that got me thinking. It is amazing how passing traffic can still entertain the adult mind. I thought of telling CID Police Officer that, but common sense prevailed.

Eventually, he reached out for his pen, signed it, and then told me that CID Police Officer who is handling my case is away for burial and that I should once again report back the following week.

But there was something amiss. It appears that police officers are in collusion with doctors because can anybody really read what a doctor has written down on a prescription sheet? And when doctors sign their names, are you able to make out their names? No, not all.

CID Police Officer who filled out the initial police bond sheet was the same person sitting before me and signing the sheet. Did he think that I would not remember him? Did he think that if he disguised his signatures he would get away with it? Ok, so I am no handwriting expert but everybody who has seen my charge sheet concurs with me that, the person who made out the initial charge sheet and the person who signed it two weeks later are the same person.

Anyway, enough of the police. It has been a while since I last went to Naalya. In fact what would I be doing in Naalya since it is at the end of the world and on the other side of Kampala from where I live?

Naalya has changed. When I was last there, there was no northern-by-pass, Yakobo’s was still the in place to go for pork and there was a constant traffic jam all the way from Kiira road police station into Ntinda. While Yakobo’s was razed to the ground and to be replaced by our new found obsession of building shopping malls, the traffic jam is still there but more importantly, there is a mall on the other side of the by-pass that houses Shoprite, Woolworths and other stores.

More importantly, it houses a sports bar that gives Just Kicking a run for its money but with a beer a 5k, it was enough to make me pass on it and instead settle for a place called the Drunken Duck, which I am told was formerly known as Valley Point and, is run by two amiable ladies – Prossy and Mclean. And the Drunken Duck was only two weeks old when I landed in it.

Suffice to say that they do have excellent pork and taking up centre stage was a young man called James Odomel in the company of a large entourage. I knew of Odomel when we were still actively blazing the media trail. Eavesdropping on their conversation, it appears they were doing a post-mortem of a hastily arranged outing to Jinja a few weeks back and were also in the throes of planning for a trip to Fort Portal. I more than eavesdropped in a bid to get their attention which might have led to an invitation, but none was forthcoming.

So I sat it out for a while on the small balcony and watched one of the car washers from the washing bay, ramming a car he had just washed into the wall and the pilgrims who were headed to Namugongo.

I have never quite figured why pilgrims would want to work, yet there are buses, boda’s and taxis. Was it a dime issue? But then again, the overtly religious people do have issues of sorts and that is why I am not overtly religious, I don’t go to church and don’t have faith in anybody who claims to be a pastor, reverend or whatever title has been bestowed on them.

I could have gone on with the conversation but I am knocking on the door of my word limit plus I have to report to Kiira Road police station tomorrow. By the way, does my case warrant being investigated by Amnesty International?

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